Anger is the first recorded deadly sin after Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden. Because God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, Cain became angry and killed his brother. Anger and murder have been sinister cousins ever since. When Cain became angry, God warned him: “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” But Cain let his anger rule him, and that led to murder.
Though anger doesn’t always lead to murder, it is nonetheless a powerful emotion. Few of us have escaped anger’s destructive effects on our self-discipline. Anger shows that hatred of God and neighbor are tightly interwoven.
“In your anger, do not sin.” That’s easier said than done, even though it’s possible to be angry and not sin. When we do become angry, we need to ask God’s help in dealing with it and letting it go. Cain refused God’s instruction, opened the door to sin, and killed his brother.
A lifetime of Christian self-discipline knows the truth about the primal sin of anger. But we also know that along with our other sins, our anger was crucified through Christ’s death on the cross. And we know that with Christ’s help, we can curb and control our anger and seek the higher good of others. Following the Lord’s example, we can even forgive.